How to Change an Intake Manifold Gasket

by John Stevens J.D.

An intake manifold's primary purpose is to direct the air/fuel mixture to each of a car's cylinders, where it is then ignited to produce power. The intake manifold also features several internal chambers that the radiator's antifreeze travels through to cool the engine. Because fuel and antifreeze flow through the intake manifold, the manifold utilizes gaskets to prevent these fluids from mixing with each other. Over time, the integrity of these gaskets breaks down, thereby allowing the fluids to mix together. When this occurs, the engine's efficiency is severely impaired, and the gaskets must be replaced to remedy the problem.

Remove the distributor from the top of the intake manifold by first pulling each of the spark plug wires off of the distributor's cap, then by removing the single retaining nut located underneath the distributor with a wrench. Pull the distributor straight up to remove it.

Disconnect the upper radiator hose and the water pump hose from the front of the intake manifold. Each hose is secured with a single hose clamp. Loosen the screw on each hose clamp with a flathead screwdriver, then slide each clamp away from the end of the hose. Pull the hoses away from the intake manifold to remove them.

Remove the manifold's retaining bolts with a wrench, then lift the manifold off the engine.

Locate the four replacement intake manifold gaskets and prepare them for installation. Note that there are two short gaskets and two long gaskets. The short gaskets are for the ends of the manifold. Coat one side of both of the short manifold gaskets with gasket sealer, then place the coated side of both gaskets against the engine. Coat the other side of both gaskets with gasket sealer. Coat one side of both of the long manifold gaskets with gasket sealer, then place the coated side of each long gasket against the engine. Coat the other side of both gaskets with gasket sealer.

Lower the intake manifold onto the gaskets, then install and tighten the manifold's retaining bolts.

Connect the upper radiator hose and the water pump hose to the front of the manifold. Slide each hose onto the manifold, then slide the hose clamps to the end of the hoses. Tighten the screw on each hose clamp with a flathead screwdriver.

Insert the distributor through the intake manifold, then install and tighten distributor's single retaining bolt to secure the distributor into place. Connect the spark plug wires to the distributor cap to complete the process.

Items you will need

About the Author

John Stevens has been a writer for various websites since 2008. He holds an Associate of Science in administration of justice from Riverside Community College, a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice from California State University, San Bernardino, and a Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School. Stevens is a lawyer and licensed real-estate broker.